... other salad of dairies during the “Lost Saturday”….
Clark Johnson pitched a few days ago the Dino Ciani’s Beethoven sonatas…
The Ciani’s Beethoven is unquestionably wonderful but would they be the best I even head? Probably not, still they were quite very motivating. I still would love to hear how Dino would play the sonatas in 20-30 year as I felt that they were slightly too raw and sometimes unreasonably fast and exuberant. Unfortunately Dino died young…. Where Dino Ciani’ performance did my Guinness World Records Book was the quality of recording- it was the worst I ever heard! It is hard to describe how horribly the recording was. Most likely the recording was done by a very cheap consumer tape recorder siring under a sit of a row#155 somewhere within a very poor concern hall. Also, it obviously that it was used a set of very-very depleted batteries to power that tape recorder…. I spent a good part of the morning trying to make the Dino Ciani’s Beethoven sonatas listenable but they still sounded bitchy like hell and my head was ringing like I was sitting inside of a large church’s bell.
I went to visit a local audio guy who got a pair of the latest Wilson Maxx. I’m not big fan of those speakers, even the Alexandria and the Grand Slams are worthless as far as I concern, but it always fun to see how people straggle with the Maxxes. Audio people tell each other stories about the big Wilsons, make up to each other legends and myths and then become themselves the victims of those myths. Wilsons are great speakers but only for a person who wiling to clime atop of the audiophile pyramid where Wilsons, even if they perform at thier best, do a top-notch hi-fi. However, there is no soil and no music in that hi-fi, juts high precision Sounds. Tanks God the ordinary audiophiles do not discriminate Sound and the Sounds and therefore they keep experimenting with Wilsons …
Anyhow, when I arrived to the new Wilson guy he had a full room of bizarre people who educated each other about different audio silliness (“it dose not sound good because the preamp invert phase” or “you need to change the interconnects to fix the fact that the power amps has defective sound”). The ides that those people pinched to each other (that people who are perfectly rational and sane in any other field but audio) were so absurd and were taken so much from nowhere that it was not even fanny. It was more like audio circus than a meeting of folks who do audio. In any case, the interesting part of my visit was that the new Wilson guy had in his room perhaps a dozen different high price amplifiers, preamplifiers, transports and DA converters and it was amusing to see them switching all of those things. I was a guest and did nothing, well I kind of did my typical thing: was eating the salami and minorly insult anything insultable…. The guys in the room played something but I was not able to figure out if the material they play was music from CDs or it was some kind of compilation of the signals from a function generator….So, it was a emblematic day with the Audiogon-type posters….
Well, the Wilsons did not do well; they also had no suitable amplification to drive them. Everything was kind of predicable except to the fact that this pure new Wilson owner was completely screwed by the Wilson dealers. I heard quite good stories (probably the myths) about the Wilson dealer training program, the story to witch I never believed, but that time there was clear evidence that my doubts were very accurate. After paying many tens thousands dollars the new Wilsons my guy paid for a Wilson’s rep (the dealer who sold his the speakers) to bring the speakers in his room and to install them. I always thought that it was foolish, as I know people who become audio dealers. 99,99% of them are deaf, ignorant, idiots or juts have so barbaric taste that I personally would not allow them to hammer nails into coffins not to mention to touch anything is audio…. Would you allow a used car salesperson to perform a hart surgery on your child or to conduct a premier of your symphony? Why in such case people presume that a retarded dealer-Moron, whose job to move boxes and to run his moths on telephone should be qualified to set up your system? Need more evidences? Oops! I thought to post some links right here to the very characteristic moments where the cretin-dealers had exposed themselves in their fill idiotic glory. It was for insurance many-many time at Audiogon – the place where the absurdity is bred and cultivated but I learned that all of that threads where the lightweightness of the dealers become too obvious are removed from the archives by the corrupted dirt who runs Audiogon…. Oh, well, perhaps Audiogon does it correct and it is better for the audio fools do not know the real value of their “advisers”…
Returning back to those people, who brought the Wilson Maxx into the room of my local guy… when they brought the speakers in they forced him out of his listening room and did not allowed him to participate in the speaker’s installation. Then they installed the Maxx in the way that the speaker sounded revoltingly insulting and objectively incorrect and… then they left informing the owner that he heed to rebuild his house in order to get better sound. Wow, that was very constrictive and quite brave! I wonder would they reimburse the full price of the purchase if I make those Wilsons in that current room to sound in the way they should sound? The funny part that my guy did subscribed what the fools dealers convinced him and instead of taking those Wilson, shovel them into asses of those audio professionals, taking his money back and forget this entire story my poor guys is seriously contemplating to rebuilt his room! God, Certainly the ignorance and a remarkable ability to go away with bull*** of the audio industry folks is fully grows on the insultingly primitive demands of thier gullible audio customers!
Well, there was also an interesting positive moment during this trip. The guy has three of more D/As. It was Audio Research played model 3, the newest DCS and newest Meitner’s EMM transport/DAC. The first two were quite ordinary bad, as was fully expected. When my guy put the new EMM into game I was comfortably purring in my clear expecting the typical sharp and sardonically Hi-Fi sound that is characteristic for the consumer products of this company. Over the course years an existence of that EMM DAC in someone’s listening room was an unavoidable evident of the person’s audio-moronity. I’m not kidding, among at least 2 dozens installations with EMM that I head sound always was very “idiosyncratically bad” and I “violently” suggested to anybody to get rid of the EMM crap as soon as possible. To my surprise this time EMM transport and DAC that my Wilson’s guy used did not produced immediately repellent reaction within me. In fact it was kind of nice. I certainly do not make any far-reaching observations but my first acquaintance with new EMM transport and DAC was positive. Probably I need to re-listen it again within a reasonably performing installation and I am sure I will find something in it worth my bitching…. The only one justification that I might bring that digital usually sound OK for the first few hours after it was juts unpacked … I hope it will not happen with the EMM of my new Wilson guy….
James Levine leads the BSO with all-French program at Symphony Hall. The opening night dedicated to the restoration of the great BSO organ:
I was thinking what sit should I get for this performance and decided to sit up-close on the left. Generally it would too sharp location and the orchestra would not be mixed properly but since Levine keeps the second violins on right and the bass sections on the left, I figured that it might be “survivable”. Also, and it was my primary objective, I would like to do not sit closer to any wall and do not pick the stay waves when the organ kicks in….
The program opened with Berlioz’s “Le Corsaire”- very nice work and the BSO did it spending. Here and there were some minor “off the notes” that would make it not publishable on CD, but all together it was great performance. I liked it a lot and sometimes I was losing myself feeling that I was hearing Wean Philharmonic… The Debussy “Jeux” did little to me and the BSO played quite tedious. The Milhaud’s “Le Boeuf sur le toit”… I do not know… it was kind of “elevator music” better to be played as background at finds-rising meetings, so I was closed to be bored…. After the intermission the Saint-Saens’ Symphony No. 3… hey what might be more interesting to celebrate the opening of the new rebuild Organ? Well, not so simple. No mater how good the Saint-Saens’ Third is but it’s organ part is quite simple and not demonstrating for neither quality of organ nor for the quality of the organ playing. The organ in the Saint-Saens’ Third flood the theme of orchestra and create juts a canvas what orchestra paints something on… An organ in this work do not really play or indicate any complexity that might can found in other works, it rather act as a blanket background. So what the BSO and Levine did with it?
To my surprise the BSO sounded last evening like the BSO from the time of Seiji Ozawa – high quality “depiction” but low quality musicality. The first movement (the greatest treasury of the Saint-Saens’ Third) BSO did very-very mechanical. It was more like “notes rendering” instead of the music playing. There was no interesting, phraseology, no proper punctuation, no wavy development that might be so wonderful at this movement, no drama in that play… Perhaps I’m a person who terminally spoiled with the Myung-Whun Chang’s Saint-Saens’ Third with Bastille Opera Orchestra but whatever it was the BSO did the first movement so “good” that in the end of it was asking myself if it was the actual play or it was a first draft during a rehearsal. In the second slow movement the BSO surprisingly took some it positions and it was sometimes “almost there”. However, I have to admit that I love this movement too much and even if a black rapper would play it I would enjoy it… The Thier movement was again totally off the wall. James Levine did not look very healthy and was very conservative in his movements. He kind of tried sometime to give some inflections and make some desperately needed for that play assents but the musician hardy ever looked at him…. and the BSO sounded accordingly. The last movement… Well, it was certainly the punch-line and the BSO did more or less OK. You have to be a really dead orchestra if you do not make the last movement of the Saint-Saens’ Third sound affective. That probably was it – it was very effective, very flashy and generally it was fine. I do not particularly care about the music of the last movement though….
So, Did I mention the organ? Yes, it was OK, big and low…. When a large bus stops at Marlborough Street next to my window I have the same effect in my apartment… do it make the bass musical? Still, I would prefer to pay $120 and spend 2 hours at the Symphony Hall listing that new great organ playing Bach fugas then to listen a dreary performed Saint-Saens’ Third …
Romy the Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche